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Plastic Colours

Manufacturers can make their figures in any colour they choose, but there is often no attempt to select one that is suitable for the subject. Indeed some make their entire range in just one colour, which makes little difference for customers that paint their figures, but for those that do not (often because they are buying in large quantities) they find opposing forces in identical colours and therefore more difficult to distinguish on the table top (and that much less realistic too).

On this page we suggest appropriate colours for various periods and campaigns. We have chosen to suggest that all units in a particular nation's army should be of a consistent colour. Thus for example although French Napoleonic Dragoons wore mostly green uniforms, we suggest a mid-blue for the French army as a whole, so the dragoons too should conform to this.

In deciding the colours we have taken the following considerations into account:

  1. The predominant colour of the troops (i.e. infantry) in the army. So we suggest the Napoleonic French army should be in mid blue, but the preceding Royal French army (as for the American Revolution) should be in a light blue that better reflects their off-white coats of the time (light grey would be better, but Austria already have that).
  2. The most common colour of existing figures. In some cases there are already one or more sets for a subject that use a different colour to the one we would choose. If these are a large proportion of the total currently available then we have chosen to suggest that future sets be produced in the same colour to maintain consistency.
  3. Different armies should be distinguishable. In some cases opposing armies would be in much the same colour if we only used the above guidelines, so we sometimes take liberties with what might be called the dominant colour to ensure they stay distinct.
  4. Practicality. If the plastic colour of a figure is too dark or too light then it is difficult to see the detail, and just as importantly, it is a nightmare to photograph them on any review websites you might be running. At the extremes, black figures are very hard to make out except at very close range, and pure white figures also successfully hide the quality of the detail.
  5. Not too loud. Very strong and pure colours can make the figures painful to look at, and again detail is effectively masked. This also presents a problem for painters as it takes multiple coats to hide the plastic colour, and of course such vivid colours are unrealistic on the battlefields of history.

The rest of this page is a list of the campaigns covered by this hobby with the suggested plastic colours for each participant. An example of each colour is shown, but it should be remembered that exactly how this colour appears on your screen will depend on its quality and settings and will therefore not be exactly the same to everyone.

Ancient Middle East

Egypt

Light Brown

Hittite Empire

Dark Grey

Nubia

Dark Brown

Sumer

Light Grey

Assyria

Medium Brown


Ancient Asia

China

Dark Grey

Huns

Medium Brown


Ancient Greece and Alexander

Greece/Macedonia

Light Brown

Persia

Medium Red

India

Medium Brown


Republican Rome

Rome

Medium Grey

Carthage

Light Grey

Allies/Others

Medium Brown


Imperial Rome

Rome

Medium Grey

Others

Medium Brown


Dark Ages

Viking

Medium Grey

Frank

Medium Brown

Saxon

Light Brown

Norman

Dark Grey


Medieval

Western Knight

Medium Grey

Muslim

Light Brown

Mongol

Medium Brown

Peasant Soldier

Medium Green


Thirty Years War

Imperial

Medium Grey

Sweden

Light Grey

France

Medium Blue


English Civil War

Royalist

Light Brown

Parliamentary

Medium Red


Conquest of America

Spain

Light Grey

Aztec

Orange

Maya

Medium Brown

Inca

Light Brown


War of the Spanish Succession

France

Light Blue

Bavaria

Medium Blue

Austria

Light Grey

Britain

Medium Red

Netherlands

Medium Grey

Brandenburg

Dark Blue

Denmark

Dark Grey

Spain

Light Brown


Great Northern War

Russia

Dark Green

Sweden

Medium Blue

Denmark

Dark Grey


Jacobite Rebellions

Jacobites

Medium Grey

Government

Medium Red

France

Dark Blue


Seven Years War

Prussia

Dark Blue

Austria

Light Grey

Russia

Dark Green

France

Light Blue

Britain

Medium Red

Other German States

Medium Grey

Indians (America)

Light Brown


American Revolution

America

Dark Blue

Britain

Medium Red

France

Light Blue

Irregulars

Medium Grey

Indians

Light Brown


Revolutionary/Napoleonic Wars

France

Medium Blue

Austria

Light Grey

Russia

Dark Green

Britain

Medium Red

Prussia

Dark Blue

Bavaria

Light Blue

Brunswick

Medium Grey

Netherlands

Light Brown

Spain

Yellow

Portugal

Medium Brown

Italy

Medium Green

Poland

Dark Grey


War of 1812

USA

Dark Blue

Britain

Medium Red

Indians

Light Brown


Carlist Wars

Carlists

Medium Red

Isabelinos

Medium Blue


Texan War of Independence

Texians

Light Brown

Mexico

Medium Red


US - Mexican War

USA

Medium Blue

Mexico

Medium Red


Crimean War

Russia

Dark Green

Britain

Medium Red

France

Medium Blue

Turkey

Dark Blue

Sardinia

Light Grey


Italian Wars of Independence

Italy

Dark Blue

Austria

Light Grey

France

Medium Blue


American Civil War

Union

Dark Blue

Confederate

Medium Grey


Franco - Prussian War

Prussia

Dark Blue

Other German States

Medium Grey

France

Medium Blue


American West

US Army

Dark Blue

Cowboys etc.

Light Brown

Native

Medium Brown


Zulu Wars

Britain

Light Brown

Zululand

Dark Brown


Mahdist Revolt

Britain

Light Brown

Egypt

Light Grey

Mahdists

Medium Brown


North-West Frontier (India)

Britain/India

Light Brown

Rebels

Medium Brown


Sudan 1898

Britain

Light Grey

Mahdists

Medium Brown


Spanish - American War (1898)

Spain

Light Grey

USA

Medium Blue


Boer Wars

Britain

Light Brown

Boer Republics

Medium Brown


Boxer Rebellion

China

Medium Brown

Russia

Light Grey

USA

Medium Blue

Japan

Dark Blue

Britain

Light Brown

France

Light Blue

Austria

Medium Grey

Germany

Dark Grey


French North Africa

France

Dark Blue

Native Forces

Light Brown


Russo - Japanese War

Russia

Light Grey

Japan

Dark Blue


World War I

Germany

Dark Grey

Austria-Hungary

Medium Grey

France

Light Blue

Britain

Medium Brown

Russia

Light Grey

Italy

Light Green

USA

Medium Green

Ottoman Empire

Light Brown


American Expedition in Mexico, 1916

USA

Medium Green

Villistas

Medium Brown

Mexico

Light Grey


Spanish Civil War

Republican

Medium Brown

Nationalist

Medium Grey


World War II

At this point colour standardisation becomes less meaningful as men wore uniforms coloured according to the environment in which they fought, and armies were increasingly agreeing on the most desirable colour to wear.

Germany

Medium Grey

Italy

Light Grey

Japan

Light Brown

Britain

Medium Brown

Soviet Union

Mustard

USA

Medium Green

France

Light Blue

(Desert Kit)

Sand


Korean War

S. Korea and UN

Dark Green

Communist

Medium Grey


Cold War

Warsaw Pact

Medium Grey

NATO

Medium Green


Vietnam War

N. Vietnam / Vietcong

Medium Grey

S. Vietnam / US

Medium Green

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